Archive | Product Management RSS feed for this section

Cereal Continues to Lose Its Popularity

20 Sep

Are you a cereal eater these days? Did you used to be? What can marketers do today to increase your cereal consumption? :-)

As Stephanie Strom reports for the New York Times:

“Cereal consumption peaked in the mid-1990s, according to the NPD Group, a consumer research firm. Still, some 90 percent of American households report buying ready-to-eat cereal, which remains the largest category of breakfast food with some $10 billion in sales last year, according to Euromonitor, down from $13.9 billion in 2000. And the consumer research firm estimates sales will fall further this year to $9.7 billion.”

“The cereal business has been declining, as consumers reach for granola bars, yogurt, and drive-through fare in the morning. And the drop-off has accelerated lately, especially among those finicky millennials who tend to graze on healthy options — even if Cheerios and some other brands come in whole-grain varieties fortified with protein now.”

 

Click the New York Times’ chart to read more.
 
Cereal
 

Are Microsoft and Minecraft a Good Fit?

17 Sep

Mojang, the maker of the highly popular Minecraft video game, has reached an agreement to be acquired by Microsoft. The purchase price is $2.5 billion. The deal is important to both Mojang and Microsoft, the maker of Xbox.

As Mojang posted at its Web site:

“Yes, we’re being bought by Microsoft. Yes, the deal is real. Mojang is being bought by Microsoft. It was reassuring to see how many of your opinions mirrored those of the Mojangstas when we heard the news. Change is scary, and this is a big change for all of us. It’s going to be good though. Everything is going to be OK. Please remember that the future of Minecraft and you – the community – are extremely important to everyone involved. If you take one thing away from this post, let it be that. We can only share so much information right now, but we’ve decided that being as honest as possible is the best approach. We’re still working a lot of this stuff out. Mega-deals are serious business.”

And in this YouTube video, head of Xbox Phil Spencer discusses Microsoft’s acquisition of Minecraft and Microsoft’s respect and admiration for the Minecraft community.
 

 
But, when the acquisition  is completed, the hard part starts — blending the Mojang culture with that of Microsoft. As Evelyn M. Rusli and Shira Ovide write for the Wall Street Journal: 

News that Microsoft is acquir[ing] Swedish company Mojang AB up a clash of cultures between the corporate giant and Minecraft loyalists — spanning from middle-school children to video-game diehards. To many of its fans, Mojang’s antiestablishment swagger has always been part of Minecraft’s mystique. Mojang, which has only about 40 employees, is run by programmer Markus Persson, who has gained a cult following by publicly blasting big tech companies, including Microsoft, Electronic Arts, and Facebook.  Microsoft, pushing 40 and worth about $387 billion, is seen as the software industry’s Goliath.”

“Already, there are signs that a Minecraft game under Microsoft will be different. According to people with knowledge of the matter, Mr. Persson is expected to leave Mojang if Microsoft completes a deal. The company’s game-development office in Stockholm isn’t expected to move or close, a person familiar with the deal negotiations said. On online forums such as Reddit and Twitter, many players questioned whether a sale would destroy the game’s indie spirits. ‘Why pay $2.5 billion for something just to alienate all the fans?’ wrote a Reddit user who goes by the handle Joebovi.”

 
 What do YOU think?
 

Sensory Marketing – Strengthening Brand Perception by Appealing to All the Five Senses

5 Sep

This guest post was written by Ram Kumarasubramanian. After working for several years,  Ram graduated from Hofstra University’s Zarb School in 2012 with an MBA in Marketing and membership in the Beta Gamma Sigma honor society. He is currently a Master of Science in Information student at the University of Michigan School of Information specializing in Human Computer Interaction. You can connect with him via Twitter or LinkedIn.

Ram
________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Sensory marketing or sensory branding refers to the attempts made to indulge and appeal to the senses of the customers while promoting a product, by adopting a multi-sensory brand experience approach.

While brands have always placed an emphasis on providing cues that are geared towards creating the intended perception in the consumers’ minds, multi-sensory marketing aims to step up the experience by engaging all of the five senses or at least a majority of them. Sensory marketing (SM) has come into focus in recent times because of the increased competition for consumer attention. It is yet another weapon that brand strategists are looking to add to their arsenal to keep their products on top on the consumers’ consideration set.

Sensory Marketing is particularly relevant in segments such as luxury goods, retail, and food to name a few.

Take the example of Abercrombie and Fitch that uses a strong masculine scent in its stores, a particular type of lighting that is not too bright, store associates who look like model,s and loud music to resonate with its target market of young consumers.

Australian supermarket Coles uses multi-sensory marketing to induce customers to shop more. Here is a video explaining the techniques adopted by the supermarket to engage all the senses. These include an open layout for the store, access to watch the bakers and butchers in work, allowing customers to handle products without any barriers, and,use of specific scents as well as free product sampling.
 

 
Heinz Beans Flavor (launched in 2013) espouses sound, taste, and smell, touch and sight in unique ways. Food architects Sam Bompas and Harry Parr walk us through the creation of the product that leverages the idea of multi-sensory marketing in this video.
 

 
Applications of sensory marketing can be found in the most unexpected of products. Take the case of tennis balls. Holland-based Vennootschap onder Firma Senta Aromatic Marketing is one of the pioneers in this area and registered the “smell of cut grass” for tennis balls.

A Harvard Business Review study notes that retailers such as Apple have designed stores that allow customers to touch products to enable them to experience a feeling of ownership. The study also notes that the tactile sensation provided by something as trivial as the hardness of the chairs in which shoppers are seated alters the tendency and extent to which the consumers negotiate.

Examples of multi-sensory marketing in food industry are fairly common. Oxford University professor Charles Spence worked with British Chef Heston Blumenthal to create a dish called the “the sounds of the sea.” The dish served at British restaurant ‘The Fat Duck’ is best enjoyed when accompanied by the sounds of ocean waves. Professor Spence also recently noted that global FMCG companies are looking to leverage mobile applications to improve taste perception of their products in addition to changing the color, shape and size of the products without altering the actual formulations.

Although the notion of appealing to the senses to sell products is not new, it is evident that the future belongs to companies that create more than just products or services. It lies within the grasp of brands that are willing to innovate and create buying experiences that take advantage and charm for all of the five senses – touch, taste, sight, smell, and sound.

 

How Healthy Are We? Perceptions Vs. Reality

2 Sep

In this era of consumer self-awareness, marketers are interested in health-related questions such as these: Do you think YOU are healthy? If yes or no, what criteria are you using? Are you being truthful or rationalizing? How would you describe your eating patterns and level of physical activity?

Recently, Nielsen conducted in-depth research on this subject. Here are some meaningful conclusions:

“Despite the recent explosion of the health-and-wellness industry, one-third of American adults remain clinically obese. According to findings in the Nielsen/NMI Health and Wellness in America report, we literally want to have our cake and carrot juice — and eat them, too. For example, while 75 percent of us say we feel we can manage health issues through proper nutrition, a whole 91 percent of us admit to snacking all day on candy, ice cream, and chips. So, why is there a disconnect between our what we know is healthy and what we actually do? What are the perceptions around ‘health foods’ that prevent us from making better choices? And how can retailers help bridge the gap?”

Click the image to access the Nielsen health-and-wellness report.
 

 

General Electric: Becoming Quicker and More Agile

27 Aug

When annual sales approach $150 billion, it becomes harder to be agile and flexible in anticipating and responding to the evolving marketplace. This is something that even star companies such as General Electric – whose slogan is “GE imagination at work” — must face.

In GE’s case, it is embarking on new ways of doing business. As Bloomberg Businessweek’s Richard Clough reports:

“GE has enlisted tech entrepreneur Eric Ries to help develop FastWorks, based in part on his bestseller The Lean Startup. As detailed in the 2011 book, Ries’ lean startup philosophy is designed to help companies foster innovation and hasten product development by building imperfect early versions, releasing them to customers, getting feedback, and then ‘pivoting,’ or adapting the products when necessary. Now GE is adopting that playbook to speed the rollout of products ranging from lightbulbs to gas turbines to refrigerators. The company has already trained 40,000 employees under the new initiative, one of the largest in GE’s 122-year history.”

Click the image to read more from Clough.
 

 

A New Focus for P&G

19 Aug

Procter & Gamble, the long-time world leader in consumer products and the leading global advertiser, is ready to embark on another new strategy. It has tried many tactics in recent years to try to stimulate company growth and profits.

P&G’s latest approach may seem counter-intuitive — to grow by shrinking its brand portfolio. However, this idea does seem on target and reflects the essence of the Pareto 80/20 Principle that relatively few products account for a disproportionate amount of sales and profits.

As reported by Rachel Abrams for the New York Times:

“After years of expansion into areas like pet food and beauty products, Procter & Gamble announced that it would cut as many as 100 brands from its arsenal to focus on others, like Tide, that made the company a powerhouse over the decades. The move is part of a strategy to improve the company’s financial performance by doubling down on about 80 brands that generate 95 percent of the profits and 90 percent of sales, according to A. G. Lafley, the firm’s chief executive. The company, and the industry at large, have faced pressure as consumers continue to spend less than they did before the financial crisis.”

[According to Lafley,] “‘This new streamlined P&G should continue to grow faster and more sustainably, and reliably create more value. Importantly, this will be a much simpler, much less complex company of leading brands that’s easier to manage and operate.'”

Click the image to read more of Abrams’ story.

 

Photo by Mario Anzuoni/Reuters

 

An Interview with Fashion Legend Diane Von Furstenberg

17 Jul

Diane Von Furstenberg has been a prominent, trend-setting fashion designer for decades. Take a look at the Web site of her company to see what she’s doing now.

Here’s a brief bio of Von Furstenberg by Liz Welch of Inc.:

“Designer Diane von Furstenberg was 27 when she made the first wrap dress in 1974. The iconic design landed her on the cover of Newsweek — and millions of women snapped up her dresses. But when demand faded, von Furstenberg ended up selling most of her licenses to avoid bankruptcy. In 1997, von Furstenberg relaunched her company, which now has annual sales of more than $200 million. The wrap dress, too, made a comeback, and recently celebrated its 40th anniversary with ‘The Journey of the Dress’ exhibition, which traveled the globe. And, as the 68-year-old designer recently shared with Inc. contributing editor Liz Welch, she is focused on building a company to outlast any fad.”

Click Von Furstenberg’s photo to read her recent interview with Liz Welch for Inc.
 

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,010 other followers

%d bloggers like this: